The GSMA and ETNO welcome the initiative of the European Commission to propose a Regulation on Artificial Intelligence, and notably the central role of the risk-based approach, which keeps citizens at the centre and is based on a robust ethical framework. Nevertheless, the risk-based approach requires more precision in order to achieve the intended results. It is encouraging to see that the legal focus is put on the use of AI and its impacts to society, rather than the technology itself.
AI applications will be a key driver of innovation for the European telecoms industry, notably as part of the shift towards 5G, virtualised networks. 5G and fibre connectivity will accelerate the digitisation of services and industrial processes, enabling the rapid expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT). The massive amounts of data generated by IoT connections and devices will open up new growth opportunities for data analytics and AI services in Europe. High-class, secure connectivity will then drive IoT, and IoT will in turn fuel European AI. Together, they can form a truly powerful virtuous circle that our industry is committed to nurturing. Digital network providers themselves increasingly deploy AI solutions in various areas, typically to improve efficiency in and reduce the carbon footprint of network operations (e.g., network security, predictive maintenance and energy efficiency), improve cybersecurity, enhance customer experience, and enable better product and service development. AI applications in the telecoms industry include, but are not limited to, network planning optimisation, intelligent pricing, B2B sales optimisation, and customer service. These use cases have to be enabled and the regulation should not disincentivise these initiatives.
As much as the telecoms industry is at the heart of many technological innovations already shaping tomorrow’s digital society, operators are also leading the way in transparency and inclusivity in this digital age. Indeed, as advances in AI, IoT and 5G give rise to intelligent connectivity, maintaining public trust and skills are crucial to enable these technologies to deliver a better connected living for everyone. A digital society where everybody can embrace new tools will provide fertile ground for continued innovation across all sectors and throughout the global economy, bolstered by strong values and principles, including the telecoms industry’s Digital Declaration and AI Ethics Principles.